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April 11, 2005

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March 21, 2005

2004 In Review

9/11 Plus One: The World Trade Center Broadcasters Recover

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April 18, 2005

Boston's Star Flips to "Mike"

*It was probably inevitable that eastern MASSACHUSETTS would see a station flip to the classic hits/hot AC hybrid that's making a name for itself around the country as "Jack," "Bob," "Simon," "Fickle," or what have you. But after Infinity's WBMX (98.5 Boston) and Greater Media's WBOS (92.9 Brookline) showed signs they might be leaning towards flipping, it was Entercom's WQSX (93.7 Lawrence) that beat them to the punch.

On Thursday afternoon at 2, Entercom pulled the plug on the dance-top 40 "Star 93.7" format that had occupied the frequency since 1999, replacing it with "93-7 Mike FM," which follows closely in the "We Play Whatever" vein of all the other recent adoptees of the latest big radio fad.

PD Jerry McKenna stays in place to program the station, but the morning team of Ralphie Marino and Karen Blake is out, as is middayer Mike McGowan, and "Mike" is running jockless for now.

The station has requested new calls WMKK, but there's some speculation that those calls may not stay - they're awfully similar to other Boston calls such as WTKK and WMKI.

Meanwhile at WBOS, the morning team of Bill Abbate and Kristin Lessard is history, as the station goes for a "more music" approach and runs jockless during morning drive. We'd suggested last week that middayer Amy Brooks would be out too, but it turns out she's still there - sorry for any confusion.

Over in Winchendon, the new signal on 91.1 got call letters last week - WKMY - and now it's getting a new owner, too. "Friends of Radio Maria" is selling the station to Sacramento's EMF Broadcasting for $15,000, and that means it will become the first Bay State outlet for EMF's fast-growing "K-Love" contemporary Christian format, fed by satellite from California. If EMF's behavior elsewhere in the country is any indication, expect to see WKMY become the hub of a big network of translators around New England...

*In CONNECTICUT, the FCC granted a waiver last week to Tribune Broadcasting to continue owning WTXX (Channel 20) for another six months while it awaits a change in cross-ownership rules that might allow it permanent ownership of WTXX, WTIC-TV (Channel 61) and the Hartford Courant. (You'll recall that a federal judge had ruled a few weeks ago that Tribune must sell WTXX immediately, absent an extension of the waiver.)

*In NEW JERSEY, it's the end of the line - again - for modern rock WDOX. The calls and format went away a few years ago on 93.1 in Wildwood Crest, where they began, and after being resurrected on the former WJNN (106.7 North Wildwood) in 2001, the new WDOX is flipping formats and calls. It's adding straight-ahead top 40 to its modern rock format and changing calls to WSJQ, we're told.

*On the NEW YORK-VERMONT border, Vox is selling another of its rapidly shrinking stable of stations. WZEC (97.5 Hoosick Falls) is licensed to New York but serves Bennington, Vermont, and after beginning life as a religious station (WNGN) in 1991, it's heading back to religion as Vox sells it to Capitol Media for $1.1 million.

Capitol runs the "Alive Radio Network" on WHAZ (1330 Troy), WBAR (94.7 Lake Luzerne) and WMYY-FM (97.3 Schoharie), and it's expected to put "Alive" on 97.5 as well, though NERW wonders if the real motivation behind buying 97.5 (which does soft AC right now as "Light Rock 97.5") is to realign the tightly-spaced 97.3/97.5 pair to better serve Albany. As always, stay tuned.

In New York City, we now know the parameters of the new facility WFUV (90.7 New York) wants to build to replace that ill-fated uncompleted tower next to the Fordham University stadium that created so much controversy with the neighboring Botanical Garden. WFUV has been granted a CP to move to the roof of an apartment building at 3450 Wayne Avenue in the Bronx, where it will run 45.8 kW at 155 meters from a directional antenna, a considerable increase in height over its old licensed facility, which was 50 kW/66 meters atop a Fordham campus building.

(And speaking of New York, a happy 40th anniversary tomorrow to the all-news format on New York's 1010 WINS. While it wasn't the very first in America, it certainly set the standard for the format, and it continues to be the most-listened-to all-newser.)

Up in the Seaway Valley, WPAC (98.7 Ogdensburg) was granted a power increase last week; it'll go from 3 kW/28 meters atop a prison smokestack in Ogdensburg to 6 kW/100 meters on the tower of sister station WYSX (96.7 Morristown).

In Rochester, the Raging Rhinos soccer team will have a new radio home this year; they've signed a deal with Entercom to broadcast their games on "Fickle" WFKL (93.3 Fairport). Meanwhile down in Avon, Bob Savage is looking for replacement news/talk programming for WYSL (1040), which is losing AP's All News Radio service when it shuts down in July.

*In western PENNSYLVANIA, Marty Minto is out of a job as the only local talk host on Salem's WORD-FM (101.5 Pittsburgh) after devoting several shows last week to discussing whether the late Pope John Paul II would be able to enter heaven. Minto says he was fired after Friday's show, with station management telling him that he was alienating listeners. No replacement for the 3-6 PM shift has been named.

The new 90.7 in Nanty Glo now has calls: it'll be WLGY.

*In CANADA, former CHOI (98.1 Quebec City) talk host Jeff Fillion has more trouble on his plate: a court has ordered him to pay TV weathercaster Sophie Chiasson C$340,000 for defaming her with comments on his show about her sex life and other issues.

In Toronto, CFMX-FM-1 (96.3) applies to boost power from its present 30 kW to 60 kW, still from atop First Canadian Place and still using a directional antenna.

And in Quinte West, CJTN (1270) has signed off for good and surrendered its license; it's been supplanted by CJTN-FM (107.1).

*That's it from Las Vegas for this week, as we attend the NAB convention. More on the convention when we're back east next Monday!

*Our special clearance pricing continues for fans of the Tower Site Calendar 2005. We're well aware that many of the calendar's fans buy it for the pictures, not the actual calendar pages...but that doesn't change the fact that by this time of the year, we're not exactly shipping 'em out the door at a breakneck pace, and Mrs. NERW would very much like a corner of her living room back.

So while she rediscovers the floor beneath those boxes of calendars and we begin to line up the images for Tower Site Calendar 2006, you get the very first crack at our Calendar Clearance Deal for 2005.

Here's how it works: instead of our list price of $16 for this fabulous, full-color, glossy calendar, you can now pick one up for just $8, postpaid. ($8.66 to New York State addresses.) Better yet, if you order two calendars at this special clearance price, we'll throw in a third for free - $16 for THREE calendars, with nine exciting months of 2005 yet to go. (That's $17.32 in NYS.)

Maybe you've already hung your original 2005 calendar on the wall, and you're thinking it would be nice to have another copy to stick away in pristine condition. Maybe you really want to frame that spectacular September page right now - but you still need a calendar later this year. Maybe you just want to help Mrs. NERW clean out the living room and give happy NERW baby Ariel more space to practice walking.

Whatever your motive, now's your big chance, because while there are still 2005 calendars left, there may not be any in a few weeks. (Remember, the 2002 and 2003 editions were total sellouts, and I've had to turn away several of you who were hoping to add these now-rare calendars to your collections.)

And we've got two more great deals for you, too. We still have a few 2004 calendars left, and while they're getting rare, Mrs. NERW wants them gone - so they're yours, in pristine condition, for just $5 postpaid. (Buy two and the third is free!) Or order the 2004 and 2005 calendars together for just $10, postpaid. (What a deal!)

(New York orders pay $5.41 for the 2004 calendar, $10.83 for the 2004 and 2005 together.)

And as always, the calendar's free with your $60 or higher subscription to NorthEast Radio Watch/ In fact, we've got a great deal for new or renewing $60 subscribers: we'll send you two 2005 calendars if you subscribe now. Or, if you'd prefer, we'll hold a brand-new Tower Site Calendar 2006 for you with your subscription, and you can be among the very first to see the 2006 edition when it's released this summer. Remember, we count on your subscription dollars to keep NERW coming each and every Monday morning!

You can use PayPal, below, or send your check or money order, payable to Scott Fybush, to 92 Bonnie Brae Avenue, Rochester NY 14618. (Please note that the prices below are valid for U.S. and Canadian orders only; please e-mail for information about overseas shipping.)

Order the 2005 Tower Site Calendar on CLEARANCE for $8...
Order the 2005 and 2004 Tower Site Calendars together for just $10...
...or subscribe to NERW at the $60 level and get two FREE 2005 Tower Site Calendars
...and you can still order the 2004 Tower Site Calendar at our special DEEP clearance price of $5! (US and Canada only - e-mail us for overseas ordering information.)

Don't want to order by credit card? You know the drill by now - make those checks payable to "Scott Fybush," be sure to include sales tax (8.25%) for New York state calendar orders only, and send them along to 92 Bonnie Brae Avenue, Rochester NY 14618. (Sorry - we can't take orders by phone.)

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NorthEast Radio Watch is made possible by the generous contributions of our regular readers. If you enjoy NERW, please click here to learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW is copyright 2005 by Scott Fybush.